I’ll use Redskins DT Albert Haynesworth as the example here.
OK, back in 2008, the Titans slapped Haynesworth with the franchise tag. He got $7.25 million — 120 percent of his 2007 salary (calculated because it was greater than the franchise number for defensive tackles). A year later, he received $41 million guaranteed from Washington.
Say Haynesworth suffers a career-ending, or even a career-affecting injury. The difference between it happening in 2007 and ’08?
That would be $33.75 million. Now, I understand both sums are a lot of money. But that’s a pretty sizable gulf from one number to the other. And it should make you understand what Vince means when he talks about “long-term security”.
One more thing, while we’re here. The risk the Patriots took by allowing things to go this far with Wilfork comes to roost now, to a certain degree. That is to say that the market for interior defensive linemen was changed by Haynesworth, so deals signed prior to 2009 are not really as relevant.
Is Wilfork going to get what Haynesworth did? Maybe not. But it might not be fair to him to look at contracts prior to that one (Shaun Rogers, Kris Jenkins) for context. After all, when a player goes this deep into his rookie deal, he assumes a certain amount of risk. It’s only fair that the team takes on risk too — that being that the market could change. Which, of course, it has.